Holy curiosity of childhood

By Dave Henning / July 15, 2023

“How do we recapture the holy curiosity of childhood?  By taking a learning posture in every situation. . . .  You’ve never met anyone you can’t learn from.  But if you want to glean wisdom, you’ll have to do more listening than talking, which is easier said than done.”- Mark Batterson

“There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.”- Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

In his Preface to Part 2 (“The Science of Sorry”) of Please Sorry Thanks, Mark Batterson tells a story from the childhood of Daniel Kahneman.  As an adult, Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work in behavioral economics.

Back in 1942, the Kahneman family lived in German-occupied France.  As Jews, the Germans required them to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothing.  Out past curfew one night, eight-year-old Daniel encountered a German SS soldier.  The soldier stopped Danny.

But then the soldier acted in a way that Danny had no category for.  And that changed the trajectory of his life.  The SS soldier opened his wallet and showed Danny a picture of his son.  Then he handed him some money.  As a result, Danny returned home more certain than ever that his mother was right about people.  That they’re endlessly complicated and interesting!

Therefore, Mark contends, when you see people as uninteresting, you mistreat them and see them as stepping stones.  A means to an end.  In addition, you find it hard to forgive and to seek forgiveness.

However, if you view people as endlessly complicated and interesting, you:

  • honor them as valuable and irreplaceable.
  • see past first impressions.
  • cultivate a holy curiosity that asks lots of questions.

In conclusion, Pastor Batterson observes, it’s just as hard to tithe time as it is to tithe money.  Yet, Mark posits, we’d be twice as happy if we doubled down on focusing on others.  Because happiness, he points out, is the opposite of self-absorption.

Today’s question: How do you maintain the holy curiosity of childhood?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Sorry = a composite photograph”

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Dave Henning

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